wow challenge 1: opening and closing lines.

Welcome to the first installment of the “Week of Writing” (WOW) challenge! Based off of the feedback I receive after this full week of writer’s challenges, it has a high potential to run again in the future.

Basically, how it works: there will be 5 challenges (Monday through Friday of this week.) Writers who submit one finished product in the comment section (of any 5 challenges) will get their name in a hat. If you submit two finished products, then you get your name in said hat twice. Three, three times. That said: you have up to five chances to get your name in the hat by submitting your writing.

What do you win? One of two prizes!
(If you don’t want to be considered for one of the prizes, then please make that clear in the comment section.)

Prize 1 : A copy of Q & A a Day: 365 Questions, 5 Years, 1,825 Answers . This book was published by the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House. It’s been a lifesaver for me in terms of writing, teaching, deep questions, and thought inspiration.

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Prize 2 : I’ll do a FULL edit of up to 10 pages of your writing, double-spaced. (My credentials include two stints as a editorial board member, 18 months as a copywriter for LivingSocial, a Creative Writing M.F.A., a number of published works, two novels in the running, and five years as a professor.) This does not have to be the one that you submit for the challenge. It can be ANY story or poem, a college essay, an email… anything.

Winners will be picked from the hat and announced on the blog on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. When you submit your comment, please submit with the understanding that a collection of my favorite entries will be published in a special blog post, with full credit given to you.

Today’s #wow challenge tackles opening and closing lines. It’s in the spirit of John Irving, who always knows his closing line before he begins writing a book. According to Irving at a recent J.F.K. forum, his working closing line for his upcoming novel is: “Not every collision course comes as a surprise.”

Today’s challenge is a two-part one. You can use it to bracket a poem, short story, or even a novel, if you’re brave.

First, come up with an alluring opening line based on this picture.

Hint: this brunch photograph was taken on a late September morning in a major U.S. metropolitan city.

If you’re curious: this brunch photograph was taken on a late September morning in a major U.S. metropolitan city.

Then, come up with your closing line. You can choose to either:

1. Come up with a line based solely off of the first picture/what might happen there, or

2. Invent an entirely new line based off of the picture below, and use your creative magic to get from A to B.

Rooftop Pool

This picture was taken on a late August morning at the top of a hotel in a relatively minor European metropolitan city.

BONUS: If you can guess both cities, then you get your name in the hat one extra time. (Your writing doesn’t have to be set in either one, but the pictures should serve as inspiration.)

Happy writing! Be sure to post your work in the comments section to be considered for the #wowchallenge contest.

3 thoughts on “ wow challenge 1: opening and closing lines.

  1. Pingback: #wowchallenge recap – last chance, romance | unplugged.

  2. Melinda Taliancich Falgoust

    This was just so much fun: picked my head up out of the marketing game for a bit and remembered how much fun writing can be…hope you like it.


    Nature LIVED here. The thought crept through his mind as certain as the emerald vines wended their way up and through the banister. Through the pendant lamp. Through the dancing dust motes that hazed the column of sunlight before him. Then he saw her. He saw her and knew. Nature wasn’t a bee lighting gently on a clover. It wasn’t a towering sequoia, silent and stoic, over a California forest.

    She. She was nature. Lightning flashed in her eyes–blue, clouded over by a stormy grey. Tangled golden hair, wild as the wheat fields after a tornado’s gust. Her face –determination set in stone.

    A force to be reckoned with.

    “You have no right.” The voice wavered, but the Winchester in her hands held a rock-steady aim. Right as his heart.

    He had every right, of course. He now owned Belle Fleur and had every intention of razing it to the ground. His lawyers had made certain the papers were in order before the old man had died. The documents were legal. Binding.

    Nothing had ever bound the wild creature standing before him, Stefan thought. He certainly found himself wanting to try. Even with the gun pointed at him, the instinctual fight or flight was leaning towards a friendly tussle with this young woman. But, who was she? Pendergast had left no heirs.

    The pungent aroma of fresh cut grass filled his nostrils with green. Summer came alive in his memory–baseball in the empty lot. Dandelion wishes blown on a warm breeze. Sno-Cones dripping sweet and sticky on a worn-out denim knee.

    He shook himself from his reverie. Knee. Her knee. There were fresh grass stains ground into the skin just below the wave of her skirt hem. Gardener, perhaps? He supposed it was possible the young woman was simply a contract employee who hasn’t been notified of the old man’s passing. But, she seemed so protective of this old, run-down mansion. As if she had some–connection to it. More than some random monthly employee would. Besides, even if she were an employee, she didn’t seem to be doing a very good job. Nature had claimed Belle Fleur. As he met the young woman’s steady stare, he swore he saw a tendril of vine curl to her cheek in a light caress.

    No. It was his imagination. The heat of the Georgia summer seeping through Italian silk. He stepped forward.

    “Miss, I apologize for any misunderstanding, but the attorneys went over everything with Mr. Pendergast in depth.” He offered her the sheaf of legal documents to her.

    She dropped the gun’s barrel and cocked her head. The most playful smile tugged at the corners of her generous mouth. He couldn’t help smiling back. Then she spoke.

    “What do you know of depth?” The cant of her voice sang of an older dialect. What did he know, though? The Deep South always seemed a bit, what was the phrase? Tetched in the head?

    She took two steps towards him. “A man should have some roots. Keeps him anchored. So he doesn’t blow away in the wind.”

    A gust of breeze rippled through the papers in his hand, lifting several of them up in a white dervish. No, it wasn’t legal documents. It was napkins. Cocktail napkins from the hotel’s poolside bar caught in the trade winds that graced the Grecian coastline. It had just been a dream.

    “I’m so, sorry, sir. I’m afraid I’m a bit clumsy.” A feminine voice lilted in a southern drawl. “Are you from around here? I seem to be lost, myself.”

    Stefan’s eyes traveled up to the wild-haired beauty before him and smiled as thunder rolled down from Olympus.

  3. Pingback: wowchallenge contest winners | unplugged.

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